With a 35-13 victory over Chicago King on Saturday, Sycamore won its first-round playoff football game for the fourth consecutive season.
After losing a number of players off last year’s team, the Spartans (7-3) have been led a young core, including junior quarterback Devin Mottet, who took over for three-year starter Ryan Bartels.
Mottet completed 61.9 percent of his passes during the regular season, good for the highest completion percentage in the area. The first-year starter threw 12 touchdowns, compared to only four interceptions, also the best touchdown-to-interception ratio of our local teams.
Daily Chronicle sports editor Ross Jacobson caught up with Mottet as Sycamore prepares to face three-time defending Class 5A state champion Montini in the second round Saturday afternoon. The following is an edited transcript:
What is your comfort level playing quarterback after your 10th start this season?
Right now, I really think I’m starting to get the scheme of things. I’m understanding the lineman roles now, I’m starting to get the coverages and I feel much more comfortable than Week 1 with little or no varsity experience at quarterback.
Was there a game or time when you felt things slowing down?
I’m going to say it really started slowing down after DeKalb (Week 3). I went into (North) Lawndale with them being so fast and so athletic. They were moving so quick in their secondary. After that, I felt like I got into the zone because they gave me a really good look at what to expect.
How much has having David Compher and Ben Niemann, two experienced receivers who have been there before, helped you this year?
That’s been fantastic. They understand almost as much as I do. They are great receivers. They are fast, they’re quick, they can catch balls when they get open and they’ll make plays.
How did you feel going into your first playoff game as a starting quarterback last week?
Definitely nervous. It’s your first playoff game, first experience. It’s just so fun, a lot of teams aren’t playing right now and I’m happy to be in the situation we are. We’re one of 16 teams left in (Class) 5A.
Sycamore has a won a playoff game in each of the past four years. What does that say about where the program is and what the players and coaching staff have done with it?
Our program has definitely turned. We’re expected to make the playoffs now every year. We’re a good team, and every team respects us. But now we want to get to the great level where we need to beat one of those state-contender teams and make it to the championship or semifinals to show what we can do.